A 20-Year-Old Dutch Inventor Has Come Up With A Solution To The Ocean’s Plastic Problem

Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced that his company plans to deploy a series of V-shaped floating barriers that would capture trash without harming sea life.

The Ocean Cleanup Organisation will be installing a 328ft-long (100 metre) barrier segment in the summer of 2016 in the North Sea, 14 miles (23km) off the coast of The Netherlands.

Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the most largest environmental challenges mankind faces today, said Slat, who came up with his concept while in high school.

Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts, but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability in the years to come.

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Rather than using nets and vessels to remove the plastic from the water, Slat’s proposal would use natural ocean currents and winds to passively transport the plastic to a series of collection platforms.

A revolutionary floating dam that traps plastic bags, bottles and other waste choking the world’s oceans will be tested at sea for the first time next year. 

Over the next five years, he plans to scale up his system to the point where he could deploy platforms spanning 62 miles in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch  Slat has estimated it could capture almost half of the plastic in the Garbage Patch over 10 years. Which would constitute around a total of 70,400,000kg of plastic waste.

His aim is to rid the seas of millions of tons of plastic waste, but instead of conducting a sweep of all the ocean’s junk, he plans to creatively let the ocean ‘clean itself.’